Saudi Arabia’s ongoing witch-hunt of dissident scholars now includes the arrest of the founder of a popular Islamic website, Shaykh Muhammad Saleh al-Munajjid.
The Twitter account “Mu’taqilī al-Ra’ī” which means “Prisoners of Conscience” in Arabic confirmed the arrest of the prominent scholar who founded the Islam QA website.
Shaykh al-Munajjid who is a Saudi resident of Syrian descent was reportedly arrested on Monday 18 September 2017 as part of nationwide crackdown on scholars that may be critical of the regime’s new “liberalisation” programme spearheaded by Crown Prince Muhammad bun Salman.
These measures have been inferred by some as paving the way to introducing more secular-leaning laws and normalisation with Israel.
Sheikh al-Munajjid, 57, has studied under some of Saudi Arabia’s most celebrated scholars such as Sheikh Muhammad ibn Uthaymeen, Sheikh Abdullah ibn Jibreen, Sheikh Saleh al-Fawzan and Sheikh Nasser al-Albani.
“Mujtahid,” a popular social media activist, argues that the arrests by Saudi authorities were “a pre-planned campaign to eliminate political Islam inside Saudi Arabia,” in an interview with the Huffington Post Arabic.
He substantiated his argument with evidence of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s attempt to dismiss the monarchy’s link to Islam, restricting religious activities to the private sphere and places of worship alone.
Other prominent scholars who have been arrested include Shaykh Salman al-Ouda, Shaykh Awad al-Qarni and Shaykh Ali al-Amri.